By BRIAN SMITH
A crowd of wellwishers Friday honored “the kindest, nicest man you’ll ever meet” during a 50th Anniversary Open House for Fred Werner Friday at First National Bank Weatherford.
Werner began his career at the bank March 4, 1963, and proceeded through the ranks. He spent most of his career in consumer loans but admits he has done a lot of different jobs, including overseeing the bank’s new College Park location while still handling consumer loans.
FNB Weatherford President Lin Bearden said Werner has “touched the lives of thousands in Parker County” during his tenure. Bearden says it’s his “random acts of service” outside the bank that even more people will remember him for.
“He’s the Parker County answer to George Bailey,” Bearden said in reference to the “It’s a Wonderful Life” character.
Werner spent nearly 40 years with the local chapter of the Salvation Army as well as the Gideons and other organizations.
In honor of his work with the bank and community, Werner was honored by a number of dignitaries, including Congresswoman Kay Granger, who said in a resolution that she was “proud to serve in a district that has citizens like you.”
Weatherford Mayor Dennis Hooks said he has known Werner for many years, before his time with the bank, and said Werner “has as much affection for his hometown as anyone I’ve ever met.”
Werner moved to Weatherford when he was three and graduated from Weatherford High.
Fellow banker Bob Glenn said he started at the bank six weeks after Werner did and spoke of the many good times had there. Glenn said he, Werner and two other men joined the bank as single guys about the same time in 1963. By 1964, all four of them were married.
“First National Bank was a very romantic place to be,” Glenn said of the four marriages, which are still going strong.
Other long-time coworkers told stories about their time with Fred.
The bank presented Fred with a La-Z-Boy recliner, a shadowbox full of memories from his 50 years at the bank and a $500 gift card to Sonic, one of Werner’s favorite haunts.
Werner admitted the bank provided him with the best job he could have ever hoped for.
“This is truly more than I deserve and I really appreciate it,” Werner said.